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Local juniors learn from playing vs. best in Bluegrass Junior

Jun. 16, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

Josef Dransfeld and Andy Michael understandably were disappointed Thursday after the second round in the AJGA Natural Resource Partners Bluegrass Junior at Bellefonte Country Club. They didn't make the 36-hole cut.

On the flip side, the Huntington youngsters learned a lot of valuable lessons they'll be able to put to good use when they resume play next month on the Callaway Junior Tour, in other top junior events and when they return to Bellefonte in 2014.

"It's a good learning experience," said Dransfeld, who at age 12 was the youngest player in the NRP Bluegrass Junior field. "You see older players, better players. The AJGA is the top of the line when it comes to tournaments."

More proof is 16 players in the NRP Bluegrass Junior have committed to play golf at the college level. The breakdown is eight boys and eight girls.

Dransfeld opened with a 77 and added a 76 for 153 and missed the cut by four shots. Michael, 13, had a 90 on day one and followed up with an 86.

"I'm disappointed," Michael said. "I know I'm a better player than that."

Dransfeld and Michael are regulars in the 13-14 age group on the Callaway Junior Tour. Dransfeld was medalist on the Meadows course at The Greenbrier Resort with a 1-under 69 and took the top spot at Lewisburg Elks with a 1-over 71.

At Bellefonte, the age difference showed. On the par-4 18th Thursday, Dransfeld and his two partners all found the fairway. The down side was Dransfeld hit a hybrid club to the green, went over and couldn't get up and down. His partners came in high with wedges and made par.

"I had to rely on ball striking more," Dransfeld said. "My short game didn't help. I didn't hit that many bad shots. Chipping and putting needed to be better. I'll learn from this. It's happened before."

At the scorer's tent after the round, you could see the disappointment on their faces.

"I really wanted under 75 today and make the cut," Dransfeld said. "If I play well coming in, I have a chance. After that (final) hole, I said, 'Thank God, no more holes to go.'"

For Michael, one part of his game was the downfall each day. "I put my driver in bad spots (Thursday) and had no chance with my irons," he said. "My putting was terrible today. It saved me on Wednesday. Fundamentally I wasn't there. Something got me in a bad spot. You need consistency."

Both players know what must be done before their next start.

"My short game has to improve," Dransfeld said.

"You're on harder courses and you have to perform," Michael said. "I just had a bad couple of days."

ON THE GO: Marshall University men's golf coach Matt Grobe took in the Monday morning session in the 36-hole U.S. Amateur Public Links Qualifier at Sugarwood Golf Club. Thundering Herd grad Nathan Kerns won a three-way playoff with a birdie on the third extra hole. Grobe was also watching current Marshall players Davey Jude and Jake Miller. Grobe and Thundering Herd women's coach Meredith Knight Rowsey watched play Wednesday in the AJGA Natural Resource Partners Bluegrass Junior at Bellefonte Country Club.

Miller has qualified to play in the Ohio Amateur. He shot 73 and tied for 15th in the qualifier held June 10 at York Golf Club in Columbus. Tim Crouch, who lost to Kerns in the Public Links playoff, fired an 8-under 63 to win the York qualifier. He had six birdies and an eagle in the round. Crouch plays for Florida Southern and helped the Mocs win the stroke play portion of the 2012 NCAA Division II Championships. He was medalist, too, by winning a three-way playoff.

GETTING THERE: Aaron Boggs is looking forward to teeing it up this week in the West Virginia Open at Parkersburg Country Club. He has momentum thanks to a course-record setting 6-under 65 he shot in the afternoon round in the U.S. Amateur Public Links Qualifier on Monday at Sugarwood Golf Club. The 65 got him into a three-way playoff, but he went out on the second hole with a 3-putt bogey. "A game of inches," he said. "It's nice to have. Look out. I'm finding it. I've got a better head on my shoulders." Boggs also is working on a golf show for television. More details later.

HOOTER'S CHARITY TOURNAMENT: Hooters Charity Tournament, June 21, Esquire G.C., Barboursville. Shotgun start 1 p.m. Entry fee $125 per player, $500 per team. Sponsorships available. Proceeds benefit American Cancer Society. Call 304-733-9464, leave entry and payment with manager on duty.

David Walsh is a reporter for The Herald-Dispatch. Contact him at 304-526-2759 or dwalsh@herald-dispatch.com.